The lobby of the 124-year-old hotel spans a block, the length of which is positively bursting with Christmas. It's been lined with 78 birch trees that glitter with lights from bow-bedecked planters, and 46 Christmas trees dusted with fake snow and shimmering with red and gold ornaments.
There are also 387 bows and 1,610 feet of lighted garland — and that's not including the other decorations throughout the hotel, which flank the reception hall doors and are scattered throughout the incredibly festive gift shop.
All that decor is added to an already opulent setting, with a line of chandeliers down the lobby.
Though the hotel opened as The Hotel Grunewald in 1893, it wasn't until the '30s that the tradition arose of decking out the lobby — the same decade that Governor Huey Long would regularly stop by to stay at his own suite there. Since then, it has become a local favorite, with thousands of New Orleans residents and visitors filing in to enjoy the stunning seasonal show.
Every day throughout the month of December, crowds shuffle in and out throughout the day, dressing up in their Christmas card best to snap family photos and pictures with friends. If they stop in at noon, they can catch local school choirs signing carols.
Although the hotel itself dates back to 1893; the current building was built in 1923. It was severely damaged after Hurricane Katrina and was extensively renovated a couple of years later. It is now a Waldorf-Astoria property.
A view of the lobby from one of its entrances. The corridor was packed with hotel guests as well as sightseers.
Another view of the lobby, which is pretty impressive even without the holiday decorations. The tile floor is pretty cool. And look at those chandeliers!
Corinne and I decided that the festive scenery would make a nice backdrop for a picture.
Of course, you really can't fully enjoy the spectacle without a Sazerac from its namesake bar in the hotel.
While perhaps not quite as spectacular, Canal Street just outside the hotel was decked out in holiday lights, wreaths and ribbons, too.